Driving is an incredible privilege to have. It allows you to travel independently, access jobs and events far away from your home, and have freedom of movement. However, it is a privilege that comes with a lot of responsibility. When you’re driving a car, you’re responsible for your safety, the safety of your passengers, and the safety of the people around you. This is why you need to practice safe driving to avoid accidents. Here are three ways to do this.

Don’t Drive Under the Influence

Drinking and driving is an incredibly dangerous combination. Each year, alcohol and drug use are part of 15,000 car injury deaths. This is why it is so important to avoid driving at all if you’re under the influence of any substances. This is not just alcohol. This includes drugs as well, both illicit and prescription. When you’re under the influence of certain substances, it can impact your judgment and reaction time. It can also alter the way you perceive things. Since you need to be paying attention to your surroundings on the road at all times, this can lead to avoidable accidents. If you’re going to be drinking alcohol or taking drugs, make other arrangements to get home after. Otherwise, you might end up severely injuring or killing yourself or someone else.

Join a Roadside Assistance Program

If you have a car, you’ll eventually deal with car problems. Often, these problems don’t show up until you’re driving somewhere away from your home. If you find yourself stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire or engine trouble, it can throw off your entire day. It can also lead to costly towing and repairs. One way to prepare for this situation is by joining a roadside assistance program. These services will help you any time you are having car trouble and get stranded somewhere. No matter where you are, they can send a tow truck to help you. With over 31,154 tow truck drivers employed in the United States, there are many that work with these programs and can help you get home or to the repair shop. While you can find a tow truck without these services, joining a roadside assistance program can provide peace of mind, especially when you travel somewhere new.

Stay Calm

One of the most important things to remember while driving is that you have to stay calm. You’re in control of heavy machinery and you need to take that responsibility seriously. If something happens on the road that makes you angry or afraid, you need to keep your emotions in check. If you lash out as you travel, you could make a mistake you’ll regret. This could include getting into a road rage altercation or losing control of your car. If you feel like you cannot remain calm, you should take a break from driving, pull over or let someone else do it. Then, when you’re calm again, you can continue driving. While it might be frustrating to stop for a break, driving when you’re extremely angry or anxious will cause you to lose focus, which could result in an accident.

Safe driving is essential as you travel on the road. If you don’t handle your car safely, you could injure or kill someone, including yourself. According to the SOII, from 2011 to 2016 there were 6,400 nonfatal injuries and illnesses in the tow truck industry, which resulted in missed workdays. For this industry, there are 204 per 10,000 full-time employees, which doubled the rate of 98 per 10,000 full-time employees for all U.S. private industries. Tow truck drivers spend their days on the road, meaning they have to follow safe practices, including those listed above. If you follow them as well, you can be confident that you’re making the best choices on the road for yourself and the people around you.